Written by tvordj on 01 Oct, 2008
Alexander Graham Bell did most of his famous telephone inventing in the US but he had a summer home in Baddeck where he lived most of the last part of his life, continuing his research and inventing, with the help of a team, loads of…Read More
Alexander Graham Bell did most of his famous telephone inventing in the US but he had a summer home in Baddeck where he lived most of the last part of his life, continuing his research and inventing, with the help of a team, loads of other things. We already knew he had done a lot of work with the deaf earlier in life. His father did as well. He invented a sort of written language for the deaf and there's even a typewriter that types the symbols. The museum has several sections, dealing with various aspects of his life and work. There are loads of photographs including one of him and his wife with Helen Keller and a touching one of him and his wife walking on the beach. There are examples of some of the aircraft and hydrofoil craft he worked on and there's a film that you can watch about the evolution of these inventions as well as other details about his life. There are lots of items on display from other of his inventions including an early camera and a phone that could work on light rays. The first cordless phone! The site is wheelchair accessible with ramps and a lift. There's a children's play and experiement section in the lower level and of course a gift shop. Fees are $7.80 per adult with discounts for seniors, children and groups. Lots of free parking. There's a cafe on the site as well, near one of the car parks. Close
Yet another sunny day! We had a continental breakfast and checked out. We stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic site first, before heading to Louisbourg. This is a really interesting site and we spent an hour or two looking at all the exhibits…Read More
Yet another sunny day! We had a continental breakfast and checked out. We stopped at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic site first, before heading to Louisbourg. This is a really interesting site and we spent an hour or two looking at all the exhibits and photos. He did a lot of research and came up with a lot of inventions, a lot more than we realized. (see separate review). It was well worth the entrance fee and the time. Apparently you can drive somewhere handy and at least see where his house is but we didn't realize that.We left there, gassed up the gar, and then drove straight through to Louisbourg, mainly highway driving until just past Sydney where you turn off for Route 22. It's well marked so you can't miss it. Since it was not quite noon, we decided to drive straight to the Fortress rather than check in to the Bed and Breakfast. I've written about the Fortress in another review "Visiting the 18th century" so some details are there. We had a great time, chatting to the interpretors, walking around and looking in the buildings. We went up to the fort, or Bastion, to watch a rifle drill and cannon firing, all done to the beat of the drummer. I was surprised to see a couple of women dressed as soldiers. I know in this day and age, everything is open to anyone but to be truly representative of the 18th century, you would have to have all male soldiers. Still, it doesn't matter. I have to say, though the soldiers were fine, they weren't a crack drill team like the summer students in the Halifax Citadel, the 78th Highlanders. Their marching lines were a bit straggly and they didn't snap the rifles around sharply like real soldiers would. I know. Picky. I shouldn't be. The whole experience was wonderful, really. We talked to one woman at the Bastion who directed us upstairs to check out the Governor's quarters. Very posh! The jail cell was a bench with a mattress at one end. I expect several prisoners could be bedded on the long bench and there would be more then just the one thin mattress but there were also shackles on the bed platform too! We also witnessed a public punishment where a citizen was purported to have stolen a bottle of wine. This was proclaimed and he, with his hands roped together and a wooden sign around his neck stating he was a thief (in French, "Voleur") and he was marched through the town to the post where he would be placed in an iron collar for several hours. There is so much attention to detail here, with the costumes and items in the buildings. The actors know their history as well and enjoy playing the parts. One woman, who was weaving a basket, has worked there for 20 years. She grew up there and the Fortress was part of her history. The main thing we did miss was an on site museum that we didn't realize was there. I wouldn't mind at all going back again and taking one of the free tours as well. There are picnic tables available too if you don't want to eat at one of the restaurants. After four hours in the sun, we were ready to head to the Bed and Breakfast. This one, the Stacey House, is filled with antiques and floral prints and dark wood. Our room upstairs was mostly white and lace though, so it was brighter. Turned out to be not that great a choice because we found the bed quite uncomfortable. We ate our evening meal at Grubstake, a few blocks away. They don't serve any fried food there, everything is baked, broiled or poached. The food was quite nice, too, and the chowder i had was perfect! They also have a playhouse that was built by a movie company and left for the town. They offer entertainment, plays and music all summer long but the folk music on offer tonight didn't really appeal to us. After a restless night, we had a nice breakfast, at least. We're heading home today. Not quite as clear and sunny today but it's ok, for driving. we drove a scenic route, first along the Mira River and then along the lovely Bras D'Or lake, passing through Big Pond where we stopped at Rita MacNeil's famous tea room. Rita is a singer and while her music isn't my taste, she's quite well known in Canada and we thought we might as well stop there for our elevenses, tea and a scone. Lunch was at a pub in the town of St. Peter's. Food was good but the service was slow.From there, the drive was mainly unremarkable, hitting the highway when we got off Cape Breton Island and straight through to Halifax, other than a stop for the loo at a petrol station near New Glasgow. We had a lovely road trip but we were definitely glad to get out of the car!!! Close
We weren't lucky with the whale watching cruise so we took a little time and drove back to Joe's Scarecrow Village (see separate review). What an amazing and quirky attraction! Kind of creepy too. The one that really made the hair on my neck stand…Read More
We weren't lucky with the whale watching cruise so we took a little time and drove back to Joe's Scarecrow Village (see separate review). What an amazing and quirky attraction! Kind of creepy too. The one that really made the hair on my neck stand up was the one with the alien mask. The face with the over-sized open mouthed smile was unsettling as well. Definitely worth a stop if you are going by there anyway. We bought sandwiches at Tim Horton's to have for our lunch later and hit the trail. Another clear blue sky today! We're a couple of weeks too early to see the changing fall colours, unfortunately. There's a charge for entering the Cape Breton Highlands National Park that encompases the Cabot Trail but it's not that much and there are family/group rates if you've got a car full. We paid our dues and got a good map of just the park routes, lookoff spots, attractions and hiking trails which we found useful. The scenery was truly jaw dropping!! The road was at times twisty but almost always in decent condition. there were a couple of spots where the shoulder was narrow or the road at the shoulder was a bit rough but mainly it was in decent shape unless you went off the Trail. We made stopped at some lookoff points, a couple of gift shops, a cafe, and went off the main route to see a couple of little fishing villages, Bay St. Lawrence at the northern tip of Cape Breton and Neil's Harbour where there is a lighthouse on a very windy hill. We had our sandwiches in the car there as it was far too windy to sit at a picnic table and had a coffee at the little cafe beside the lighthouse. Places we could have stopped but decided against this time were the Lone Sheiling (a replica of a Scottish crofter's cottage) and the Giant MacAskill museum. Apparently we went right by it but the signage is pretty bad.We ended the day in Baddeck, a pretty town on the water, on the Bras D'or lakes. There's a lighthouse here too (how many did we see? I lost count!) Our bed and breakfast is just up from the main and only intersection by the visitor information centre. We got checked in then went out to walk around the village, down by the waterfront and up main street. Not much open past 5 o'clock on a Saturday! We did stop into the library and signed up to use the public internet computers but barely got logged in when the library closed! Fail! Where to go for our dinner? We asked the landlady at the B&B and she'd recommended a couple of places. One was in a hotel and was too full and too posh for our casual attire. The one we chose was called Yellow Cello. Food was good but we didn't have very good luck with the service. The young man didn't seem to be very experienced.The B&B was quiet, didn't have a television so we occupied our evening with games of cards and checking out the jacuzzi tub! Close
Up early today. Peter is cooking breakfast but has invited us to the restaurant where he's using the facilities there. It's not open for breakfast, so it's just us for a private dining experience with our eggs and bac'. I was sure the eggs were…Read More
Up early today. Peter is cooking breakfast but has invited us to the restaurant where he's using the facilities there. It's not open for breakfast, so it's just us for a private dining experience with our eggs and bac'. I was sure the eggs were different somehow, they tasted so good but I guess it's just like that when someone else cooks it for you. In butter. The sunrise was beautiful and the day was going to be sunny and clear with a little cool breeze. Perfect for traveling. Put in the tunes and away we go, taking the direct route back to the ferry which takes about 30 or 40 minutes tops. We made it with 13 mintues to spare, or so we thought. The boat was 9:30 not 9:00. Misread the brochure. Well it's better than missing it by a half hour! We paid our fare to return to the mainland and then headed left for Cape Breton up the Trans Canada Highway. We crossed the Canso Causeway but took the wrong turn off the rotary. We'd wanted to take the 19 all up the western shore but instead found ourselves on the 105 Highway. There didn't seem to be a way to cross over so we stayed there until Whycogomah where we stopped for gas and had lunch. We bought fresh made sandwiches at a Farmer's market (bakery and deli) which were the size of doorstops! From there we sorted out the correct turn off to go over to the scenic route.Mistake. There was construction in two separate sections and the road was a bit rough otherwise, too. The construction spots had us stopping to wait for a pickup truck that would escort us down the road to the other end of the sections. That was different! We finally got on our way and out of the worst of the roads, heading through the beautiful Margaree Valley and around the coast into the Cheticamp area. We spotted Joe's Scarecrow Village and Flora's, noted for later visits. We found our motel, the Ocean View Motel and Chalets, at the other end of the village, checked in and headed for the wharf. We were hoping to catch a whale watching cruise, you see, and were told there was a 5 o'clock cruise going out. Unfortunately we were out of luck, because it's off season and if they don't have 6 people, they don't go out. They didn't. We didn't. Instead, we drove back out of town to Flora's for a gander through the craft shop. There's all manner of hooked rugs, a local specialty, available in the shop from small things the size of bookmarks or coasters to large area rugs for the floor or to hang on a wall. There are lots of other nice things there too and we gathered up some items for gifts and souvenirs. We headed back into the busy town of Cheticamp and stopped at the 100+ year old stone church, Saint-Pierre. It was open so we went inside to looke at the sunny interior. The walls and ceilings are all white and the light through the stained glass makes it glow. Very pretty church and it's spire can be seen for miles around. Food was our next priority. There are quite a few places to eat and we chose what was probably a bit of a tourist trap, a restaurant (and pub) with a big lighthouse out front. They're large enough to cater to a bus group though it was mercifully quiet when we were there. The food was good, though our waitress had us a bit worried whether she would manage. She used a catering tray to hold on to as she walked around, with the drinks or the food on the tray. She was clearly a little unsteady but she was game to go! The service was, in fact, quite good! We had no room for dessert and headed back to the motel room. The motel offers dvds to borrow and play on the television so we looked through the list of titles and chose one. we had some snacks and settled in to relax and enjoy the movie. Tomorrow will be a long driving day around the Cabot Trail! Close
I've been trying to get to Cape Breton for years and never seem to manage to make plans that work out so this year, I was determined. Graham was visiting for two weeks in September so we went ahead and booked. It would have been…Read More
I've been trying to get to Cape Breton for years and never seem to manage to make plans that work out so this year, I was determined. Graham was visiting for two weeks in September so we went ahead and booked. It would have been better to go in October when the fall colours were blazing but I had work committments so we made do with a beautiful sunny weekend instead. Our trip to Cape Breton included an overnight stop in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island to visit my cousin. We left on a Thursday in grey, overcast weather. We decided to take the ferry to PEI since Georgetown is on the east end of the island and not that far from Caribou where the ferry lands. First, though, a stop in the pretty town of Pictou. We were early for the 1 p.m. boat so we drove into the town centre to have a look around and a coffee. Pictou is known as the landing spot for the Hector, a sailing ship that brough a boat load of Scottish highlander immigrants in 1773. More and more Scots arrived as the Highlands were cleared out by the British after the Rising and thus, Nova Scotia's strong Scottish (and also Irish, many of whom arrived during the famines in Ireland in the 1800s) heritage was born. (There are more names that start with Mac and Mc in the telephone books here than the name Smith!)On the Pictou waterfront is a replica of the Hector and you can go on board but only if you pay $7 at the museum there, the Hector Heritage Quay Interpretive centre which isn't large but there are several other buildings and things to see such as a working blacksmith shop. We didn't actually go through the museum because of time constraints and just took pictures of the ship from the boardwalks along the waterfront but it would be quite interesting and worth a look. We did have a look into the gift shop where they had a lot of nice things. I bought myself a silver ring with a Celtic design and it looks like a miniature locket, that is, a little compartment that opens up. Too small for a photo but apparently it's modeled on rings that could hold a poison pellet! Hmmmm....The weather was getting a bit misty and we decided we might be ready for that hot drink now. Across the road from the Quay is a lovely little cafe and art studio called Carvers. Keith Matheson, the owner, has a studio in the back where he produces wonderful wood carvings and they even hold classes! The cafe has light lunches available and yummy desserts and the pub has a hearty menu. From there, we headed to the ferry, only we seemed to have got out of the town on the wrong road and took the back road all the way to the ferry. Luckily, we weren't late for the boat! You can travel to PEI on the ferry or by the bridge in New Brunswick for free but they make you pay on the way out and let's face it, it's an island, they've got a captive audience! On the PEI side, we took the East Coastal Route, the scenic drive around the shore. We made a couple of stops along the way, one to Cape Bear where there's a lighthouse. It wasn't open but we took pics and had our lunch sitting in the car. It was a bit too wet to sit at the picnic table there. Cape Bear lighthouse was the first one in Canada to receive a distress signal from the Titanic! Our other stop was Panmuir Island, accessed by a narrow causway. It's on the mouth of Georgetown bay and the lighthouse there is the oldest wooden one on the Island. We could see a few horses grazing in a field in front of it as we drove up. Makes for a nice photo! You can pay a small fee to go up in the lighthouse but we didn't. We did have a little chat with the woman working in the lighthouse which is a tiny gift shop and we walked around taking photos of the views, the lighthouse and the horses. By now, the weather gods were with us and it was clearing up. Another 20 minutes or so and we arrived in Georgetown, just before 5 o'clock. Gayle was still in her shop Shoreline Designs a few doors down the road from their house so we walked down to see her there and investigate the shop. This is the first summer it's been open. There's lots of lovely hand made crafts for sale, some of which are made by Gayle's husband, Peter (jewelry, sandstone carvings). They have also opened up a restaurant with a partner, called Clam Diggers. That's down at the other end of their street, overlooking the water. We had our dinner there later on and it was really *really* good! ! Peter doesn't do most of the cooking but he does do some of it when he has the time. He's not only busy crafting his silver jewelry and carving his sandstone, he's also the mayor of Georgetown! The sun has set and we're heading for bed after an impromptu Japanese karaoke session (Um, probably best not to ask!). Our visit this time is short but we'll come back again and spend more time on the Island and with Gayle and Peter. Close
Written by Ttangerine on 09 Feb, 2005
In Cape Breton we stayed at Bay St. Lawrence. This is right at the top of the island and very beautiful. We followed the Cabot trail, and the scenery was incredible. Each day we found something new to do and always had…Read More
In Cape Breton we stayed at Bay St. Lawrence. This is right at the top of the island and very beautiful. We followed the Cabot trail, and the scenery was incredible. Each day we found something new to do and always had a lot of fun. One day we drove until we found a beach. It was a very hot day and the beach couldn't have been more perfect.
If I can recommend something for souvenirs, go into some of the little towns along the way. My husband and I went into Neils Harbour and found a nice woman who, with her husband, builds working lighthouses. We brought three back with us. We looked but stayed away from the tourist trap type of souvenir shops. It seemed like most things were made in Taiwan or somewhere else, and we wanted actual Cape Breton-made items. If you look, it's not hard to find some really nice items.
I highly recommend a drive into Meat Cove. There is a hiking trail there, but even if you don't hike, the scenery is amazing and the road is an adventure in itself. It's good for small vehicles, not for RV's. My husband and I still wonder how they get in and out with the snow on the ground.
Written by Lelli on 08 Sep, 2003
First off, I must recommend the kayak tour company that I traveled with, Leslee and Steve of Scotiakayaking.com. They were the highlight of the tour and you will love them. A lot of the kayak trips that I have taken in warmer waters do not…Read More
First off, I must recommend the kayak tour company that I traveled with, Leslee and Steve of Scotiakayaking.com. They were the highlight of the tour and you will love them. A lot of the kayak trips that I have taken in warmer waters do not test my limits in the slightest for adventure or even for the amount of kayaking done in one day. This tour group understands a kayaker's needs and satisfies in spades! They run double and single kayaks. Steve has a master pilot's license (I think that's what it's called) and is very savvy about weather and sea conditions, and Leslee is an avid adventuress and hostess and an all-around delight to visit and travel with!
We had been the day before on a run down to the Pleasant Bay area, and the trip was great.There was good visibility out to sea and a slight, not-too-brisk wind all day. The pilot whales had kept their distance and were off on the horizon in a small pod or two. Along the coastline were some interesting rock formations and some coastal caves that looked interesting for another day. We were a company of 10, all traveling very well together in a place where it is impossible to have a bad time. What fun. Pleasant Bay was a sight as you round the bend and get your first glimpse of a fine landing beach rising up to the best picnic spot overlooking the bay. After a satisfying lunch, we kayaked back to Chetticamp Harbour, returned to our campsite in the park, and were well fed and talked long into the night. . .
The following morning, Steve checked on a storm system brewing in the North Atlantic and spoke to some of the fishermen, returning with some hesitations about putting in for our planned trip--safety issues first. We decided on a bay trip on the other side of the island at Dingwall. So off we drove to arrive just in time for a bayside picnic and finishing up. . .in we put for a grand trip around the bay. An eagle was floating in the ocean and rose into the air directly in front of my kayak. The air was clear and the coastal scenery engaging. As we reached the far side of the bay and our trip almost over, Leslee spoke, saying that a previous guest had called "kitty, kitty, kitty" to the water and whales appeared, so we all started calling "kitty, kitty," etc. As I took my last picture in the roll of film, I exclaimed, "Well, now they'll come--I'm out of film," and Leslee yelled, "Look, there's whales!" And sure enough, there they were, and not pilots but fins. They were about 100 yards away, and then they turned towards our group, swimming directly for us. One stopped and hung there in the water, finally poking its funny pleated head above the water, and twice looked us over. We figured out later that it had been within 30 feet of the front of our kayak! We hung about for a while with the whales going farther away and then closer. The mother and her calf never approached us, but were content to swim about. . .what a feeling to see their size. . .Lelli
Written by J&J Reid on 24 Aug, 2002
Port Hood is one of the larger fishing villages in Inverness County. Located on the Ceillidh Trail (route 19), the village has sufficient amenities that one can find nearly everything you need for a relaxing vacation without venturing too far. It features two…Read More
Port Hood is one of the larger fishing villages in Inverness County. Located on the Ceillidh Trail (route 19), the village has sufficient amenities that one can find nearly everything you need for a relaxing vacation without venturing too far. It features two banks, a Co-op, some great restaurants, a full service gas station and beaches with some of the warmest waters in eastern Canada.
We are fortunate enough to have family in this picturesque village that are generous enough to allow us to stay with them during our vacations. Port Hood is also the hometown of NHL great Al MacInnis, whom I have personally seen many times during the summer break.
As the village is located directly on the ocean, it is only a short walk to one of the many beaches. The village’s main beach even provides lifeguarding services, a snack bar and change rooms. If you are looking for a great deal on seafood, take a walk down to the wharf and see what they have to offer. I can guarantee that you will not find fish any fresher. There are a number of inns and cottages for rent but inquire early. Accommodations are quite often booked a year in advance.
Written by sterlingzinc on 17 Aug, 2004
Go see it.
There is nothing there, but it is probably one of the most scenic drives that I have taken since the Road to Hana.
The road is not pretty, but your rental car will make it. Those in the motor homes or with trailers…Read More
Go see it.
There is nothing there, but it is probably one of the most scenic drives that I have taken since the Road to Hana.
The road is not pretty, but your rental car will make it. Those in the motor homes or with trailers - don't bother!
Sunsets from here are breathtaking.
For those of us that love to go off the beaten track - here it is in all its glory.
From a better writer than me....
Written by samepenny on 21 Oct, 2000
I've heard of Cape Breton Island most of my life and was certainly not disappointed seeing it first hand. The wild scenery is impressive. Parks Canada has worked very hard to preserve nature in this area so much of the park is practically…Read More
I've heard of Cape Breton Island most of my life and was certainly not disappointed seeing it first hand. The wild scenery is impressive. Parks Canada has worked very hard to preserve nature in this area so much of the park is practically off limits, but not to worry, there's plenty to see for everyone. Once entirely an island, it's now, in fact firmly connected to Nova Scotia by a bridge. (although the gap didn't look wide, the currents are terrific.) A joy for any of us who enjoy the outdoors, in Cape Breton you can live in style while still having the benefits of the wilds. Close